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Originally published Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 4:55 AM

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Syrian regime: Aleppo airport still in army hands

The Syrian regime says the airport in the battleground northern city of Aleppo is still under military control and "safe" from rebels fighting to capture it.

The Associated Press

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BEIRUT —

The Syrian regime says the airport in the battleground northern city of Aleppo is still under military control and "safe" from rebels fighting to capture it.

The pro-government Al-Watan daily - considered a mouthpiece for President Bashar Assad's regime - said Wednesday the military is "valiantly defending" the airport and will do so at all cost.

The paper says the airport is under "intensive attacks by gunmen" - a rare acknowledgement of the ferocious fighting around Aleppo, Syria's largest city.

Assad's troops have been locked in a stalemate with the rebels since July, when Aleppo became a major battlefield in the nearly two-year conflict.

The rebels have been trying to capture the airport for weeks. They have recently taken control of most of two military bases protecting the facility.

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